Our creamy polenta with mushrooms and watercress is a smooth, cheesy and satisfying vegetarian dish that is packed with flavour. Polenta is a type of ground cornmeal that can be cooked as a soft porridge (like we have in our recipe) or left to harden and served as a loaf or even better, cut into chips and fried. Creamy polenta is popular in northern Italian cuisine and makes a delicious alternative to mashed potato. It is a typical peasant dish that is a storecupboard staple in many Italian households. This versatile ingredient can be slowly stewed, baked or fried to accompany a variety of different dishes. It’s also gluten free, so makes a delicious alternative to serve to gluten free guests. Wild mushrooms are a little more pricey than ordinary button mushrooms but make all the difference to this recipe. Creamy polenta with mushrooms and watercress is a comforting and warming side dish is a great option to serve with grilled chicken or roasted Mediterranean vegetables.
- 300g mixed wild and chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 100g butter
- 2tbsp thyme leaves, or a handful of stalks
- 1 litre whole milk
- 200g polenta
- 80g vegetarian Parmesan, finely grated
- watercress, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the sliced mushrooms with 40g of the butter and the thyme leaves, season well and then roast in the oven for 10 mins.
To make the polenta, heat the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat, when hot, reduce the heat and add polenta, whisking continuously. Leave to simmer for 20-30 mins.
Remove the polenta from the heat and stir through the Parmesan, remaining butter and mushrooms. Top with watercress and serve when warm.